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Study: Divorce damages long-term physical health2 min read

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Much can be debated about the emotional impact that divorce has on the participants and any children involved, but physical results are much more difficult to explain away. A new study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that divorced people have 20% more chronic illnesses than those who are continually or never married.

The study even found that remarrying reduces the increased risk, but does not eliminate it. Those that remarried still had a 12% increase over those continually or never married.

[Researcher Dr Linda Waite, a sociologist at the University of Chicago,] said: “Some health situations, like depression, seem to respond both quickly and strongly to changes in current conditions.

“In contrast, conditions such as diabetes and heart disease develop slowly over a substantial period and show the impact of past experiences, which is why health is undermined by divorce or widowhood, even when a person remarries.”

Anastasia de Waal, of the think tank Civitas, said: “This research highlights the fact that whilst divorce has become much more common, it can take not just a tremendous emotional and financial toll, but also a heavy health one.”

Obviously, this, as well as the potential psychological and mental aspects, does not hold true for every individual that goes through divorce. However, this does reiterate the importance of stable marriages and marriage as an institution within a society. It provides benefits not only to those involved in the relationship, but to the nation as a whole through increased productivity and decreased strain on resources.

Studies of this kind also seem to corroborate the Christian idea that what goes on in one part of the person affects the whole. The each sphere of the mental, physical and spiritual nature of a person can impact the rest and is why all three must be considered when determining the health of an individual.

The mental and perhaps spiritual angst that accompanies divorce leaves a stain across the entire person, including their physical bodies. None of that means that divorced people cannot be restored or should be viewed as outcasts, quite the contrary. It means that continual marriage should be stressed even more, but when divorce does occur, the individuals involved should be cared for and encouraged even if it seems they are unaffected.